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Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274)


Italian Catholic philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Universalis.
Thomas Aquinas
Beauty adds to goodness a relation to the cognitive faculty: so that "good" means that which simply pleases the appetite; while the "beautiful" is something pleasant to apprehend.
Thomas Aquinas quotes
Just as it is better to illuminate than merely to shine, so to pass on what one has contemplated is better than merely to contemplate.
Thomas Aquinas
As a highly Pagan poet said to me: "The Reformation happened because people hadn't the brains to understand Aquinas." The Church is more immortally important than the State; but the State has its rights, for all that. This Christian duality had always been implicit, as in Christ's distinction between God and Caesar, or the dogmatic distinction between the natures of Christ.
But St. Thomas has the glory of having seized this double thread as the clue to a thousand things; and thereby created the only creed in which the saints can be sane. It presents itself chiefly, perhaps, to the modern world as the only creed in which the poets can be sane. For there is nobody now to settle the Manichees; and all culture is infected with a faint unclean sense that Nature and all things behind us and below us are bad; that there is only praise to the highbrow in the height. St. Thomas exalted God without lowering Man; he exalted Man without lowering Nature. Therefore, he made a cosmos of common sense; terra viventium; a land of the living.
His philosophy, like his theology, is that of common sense. He does not torture the brain with desperate attempts to explain existence by explaining it away. The first steps of his mind are the first steps of any honest mind; just as the first virtues of his creed could be those of any honest peasant.




Thomas Aquinas quotes
I answer that, It was necessary for woman to be made, as the Scripture says, as a "helper" to man; not, indeed, as a helpmate in other works, as some say, since man can be more efficiently helped by another man in other works; but as a helper in the work of generation. This can be made clear if we observe the mode of generation carried out in various living things. Some living things do not possess in themselves the power of generation, but are generated by some other specific agent, such as some plants and animals by the influence of the heavenly bodies, from some fitting matter and not from seed: others possess the active and passive generative power together; as we see in plants which are generated from seed; for the noblest vital function in plants is generation. Wherefore we observe that in these the active power of generation invariably accompanies the passive power. Among perfect animals the active power of generation belongs to the male sex, and the passive power to the female. And as among animals there is a vital operation nobler than generation, to which their life is principally directed; therefore the male sex is not found in continual union with the female in perfect animals, but only at the time of coition; so that we may consider that by this means the male and female are one, as in plants they are always united; although in some cases one of them preponderates, and in some the other. But man is yet further ordered to a still nobler vital action, and that is intellectual operation. Therefore there was greater reason for the distinction of these two forces in man; so that the female should be produced separately from the male; although they are carnally united for generation. Therefore directly after the formation of woman, it was said: "And they shall be two in one flesh" (Gn. 2:24).
Thomas Aquinas
This dumb ox will fill the world with his bellowing.
Thomas Aquinas quotes
Music is the exaltation of the mind derived from things eternal, bursting forth in sound.
Thomas Aquinas
As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power.
Thomas Aquinas quotes
All admit that indulgences have some value; for it would be blasphemy to say that the Church does anything in vain.
Thomas Aquinas
Sure, for all our blindness; secure, for all our helplessness; strong, for all our weakness; gaily in love, for all the pressures on our hearts.
Thomas Aquinas
It must be said that charity can, in no way, exist along with mortal sin.
Thomas Aquinas
There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading. I cannot, therefore, feel that he deserves to be put on a level with the best philosophers either of Greece or of modern times.




Thomas Aquinas quotes
Everything I have written seems like straw by comparison with what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.
Thomas Aquinas
All that I have written seems like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.
Thomas Aquinas quotes
Concerning perfect blessedness which consists in a vision of God.
Thomas Aquinas
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
Thomas Aquinas quotes
Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit gentium.
Thomas Aquinas
If... the motion of the earth were circular, it would be violent and contrary to nature, and could not be eternal, since ... nothing violent is eternal .... It follows, therefore, that the earth is not moved with a circular motion.
Thomas Aquinas quotes
Reason in man is rather like God in the world.
Thomas Aquinas
Even as in the blessed in heaven there will be most perfect charity, so in the damned there will be the most perfect hate. Wherefore as the saints will rejoice in all goods, so will the damned grieve for all goods. Consequently the sight of the happiness of the saints will give them very great pain; hence it is written (Isaiah 26:11): "Let the envious people see and be confounded, and let fire devour Thy enemies." Therefore they will wish all the good were damned.
Thomas Aquinas
Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.


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